London's classic red phone boxes are getting a makeover - complete with Wi-Fi and touchscreens

Rebecca Smith
Phone boxes in the capital are ringing in the changes with touchscreen
Phone boxes in the capital are ringing in the changes with touchscreen
ou may have noticed some rather different phone boxes to what you're used to popping up on the streets of the capital.

Well that's because the iconic red phone box is getting a revamp and New World Payphones has been wheeling out swanky new versions complete with high-speed Wi-Fi, touchscreen functions for local services and digital advertising screens, since the end of last year.

Don't worry, it's not dooming the red phone box to extinction just yet; around 100 are currently live, and they've just been replacing the really out-dated or broken down boxes. There are though, plans to roll out 500 more this year.

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And for every new phone box set up, New World Payphones will remove the older models that aren't working so sharply, and plant an urban tree via a partnership with Trees for Cities.

The original K2 phone box arrived on London's streets in 1926, just over 90 years ago and today's new versions are aiming to bolster the UK's connectivity to broadband in urban areas.

Here's where you'll spot these fancy new phone boxes across the capital:

  • Barking
  • Barnet
  • Bexley
  • Brent
  • Croydon
  • Enfield
  • Haringey
  • Harrow
  • Hillingdon
  • Southwark
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth​

Read more: BT's giving the capital's phone boxes a makeover...

It comes hot on the heels of BT unveiling its version of the phone box makeover; replacing them with kiosks called Links, which offer free calls to UK landline and mobile phones, free Wi-Fi access and charging facilities.

Those are being rolled out this year, with plans to install at least 750 in 2017. Those though, will replace hundreds of BT’s existing phone boxes across the capital. Links kiosks take their place and in doing so will take up less space on the pavement and will be installed in smaller numbers than the existing payphones, according to BT.

Here's how the phone boxes look:

(Click or tap on the images to see them in full screen)

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